The goal of technology is to make our lives more efficient. Devices are supposed to enhance productivity, especially when it comes to meetings. We have electronic calendar reminders, email to confirm dates, and tools that let us meet with anyone, from almost anywhere on the planet.
So why are we spending all of our times in meetings? Has technology also made it too easy to meet? A recent Salary.com survey found the 47% of workers see meetings as the biggest time waster of their day.
Here are five ways to turn those meetings into productive business!
1. Strategic Invites – We’re afraid to leave anyone out of a meeting, to prevent hurt feelings, so we impact productivity by inviting people who just don’t need to be there. With tools like video conferencing, it’s easy to over invite. Limit participants to key players. Remember the purpose of a meeting is to take action, not cut into someone’s productive time!
2. Always Create an Agenda – Meetings with agendas run more efficiently and result in actionable steps. Forward your agenda to participants ahead of time and invite feedback prior to the meeting. This revised agenda will keep meetings more focused, and productive. Keep meetings on point, identify actions and move on.
3. Track Action Steps and Progress – Upon completion, forward participants a recap that includes action steps, responsibilities and deadlines. This can help you track progress and keeps team members who were not there (and didn’t need to be) informed.
4. Consider a Stand-Up Meeting – Try holding stand-up meetings if goals and topics allow. Stand-up meetings keep participants engaged, run more efficiently and remain focused. They also tend to run 25% faster, and result in decisions 34% sooner according to a Brandeis University study.
5. End Early – End your meetings 10 minutes early. Instead of taking a full hour, keep meetings to 50 minutes. This can give participants who need clarification time to ask questions, and those who don’t 10-minutes of down time. Get into this habit and you can be sure your invitees will be on time for the next one.
24-hour connectivity and collaborative technologies have bred more meetings. Try taking a more strategic approach when running your next meeting and it will surely be a more productive experience for everyone involved.